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Good but not a page turner. I realize it is a true story and found it absolutely amazing that so many in survived. However, I found the format confusing and at times difficult to keep up with all the characters.
Because of reading this 'novel', (it's a page turner)(true family story) .. the war that went on for years and years.
I have learned more about the expanse of the countries affected by WWII.. and my understanding by the end of the novel has matured, especially regarding the visceral human tragedies of the suffering and horrors inflicted on the Jewish people in European countries, during WWII.
Running, hiding, walking; eating, sharing, starving. Bleeding, diseases, illness. Waiting, suffering, hoping. Trying, thinking, deciding. Making actions happen.
I didn't realize there were walled off sections of cities, .. in which Jewish people were kept confined-imprisoned, except for forced labor work, and, -- that there were thousands and thousands of rampant murders of Jews while they barely existed, trying to survive, in those imprisoned sections.
You must also read the Author's Notes.
Starvation ongoing for all was one of the horrors. To share one hard boiled egg for the day?
The family's love for each other and its strength ....and their personal insights ... and the actions of each of the family members ... was a stunning portrait of how love is an action, with its particular, and purposeful energy to affect change; love powers insights; insights power steps to take to make all effort to stay alive in the ugliest years of persecution history.
I only wish the book began with a family tree of who is who because after reading the entire book, I'd have an impossible time describing who is who. Except for Addy.
Reading a true story novel such as this is also a real way to learn real history. Family history.
And reading this true story novel became a better way to understand the "heart of the horrors" of the extermination of a people of faith whose holy historic tradition dates thousands of years. But it is the power of their actions taken on behalf of sustaining each other to stay alive that is the absolute grace of love as a power of action.
This is a fictional survival story based on the author’s real family history. It follows a Jewish family consisting of mother, father and five adult children who are separated by circumstances during WWII. This story takes us to many locations around the world and follows the fates of the individual members of this closely bonded family. It is an immersive read for those that like historical fiction or family sagas.
When I shared The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah in last month's book recap I got quite a few folks who suggested I check out this title since I liked that book so much. I had to wait a couple weeks for it to become available at my library, but once it did I ran over (no, literally, I've been "running my errands" now that the hubby and I are sharing a car, so I physically ran to the library for the book) and snagged it. I'll be honest, this one was a little harder for me to stick with and follow. I love the idea that the book jumps from the different characters' perspectives, but at times it was hard for me to keep all of the story-lines and people straight in With that said, it was still an amazing (and gut-wrenching) story. Seeing as the cover of the book says that it's a novel, I was thinking it was made up (with some portions based on the history of World War II, concentration camps, etc), but when I got to the Author's Notes I was blown away that this was legit a family story. This family absolutely defied the odds and despite all of the death and destruction, they came out on the other side more "whole" than one could have every imagined - they truly were the lucky ones! I feel like so often we hear about the plight the Jews went through during WWII, but, at least for me, I feel so removed from it. This made their experiences so real (and raw) that all I could do was tear up, shake my head and pray that we never repeat the atrocities that occurred. I would give it an 8 out of 10.
I’ve read several WWII books this year, including The Nightengale, All the Light We Cannot See, Underneath a Scarlett Sky, and Lillac Girls. I thought this book was incredible and the best of them all. I learned about persecution of the Jews during WWII in several areas of the world in one book. . It doesn’t seem possible that it’s true because they all survived such terrible circumstances. Truly the triumph of the human spirit. It does have a lot of people to keep track off- put a sticky note on the page with the family tree.
An unbelievable story of the challenges of an extended family of Polish Jews before, during, and after WWII. Highly recommended!
As I read this I kept saying this is clearly fiction. How could this Polish Jewish family survive all the harrowing nightmares World War II put in their way. And then I get to the afterword and find out the story is true, that it is based on the author’s family.
A family and their place in WW11.....loved her character development and with each chapter
you peel away another layer.....excellently written...story is heartwarming in its bravery and
heartbreaking in its reality
The best book we’ve read in years. Sad and triumphant, these are stories of a history which must always be remembered.
After having just finished a family saga where I couldn't keep people straight, I copied the family chart onto my bookmark. That and the chapter headings with dates and places helped to keep track of what was going on with everybody over the near decade covered. Each person is clearly delineated, and each one changes over the course of the book. Given the actual statistics of how few Jews from Radom survived the war, this might seem a Pollyanna tale in the end, in spite of the suffering in the middle. Except that it was based on Hunter's years of research into her own family, and acknowledged those who didn't make it through. Each reader will have their favorite characters; by the end, mine were Felicia and Addy. When chapters end with someone being dragged off by the SS, shots ringing out, or someone acknowledging a pregnancy at the most inopportune time, the author is in control of her pacing. I hope Hunter finds another subject that engages her as much as this one clearly did.
This was a recommendation from a librarian who volunteers at Illinois' Holocaust Museum and Learning Center. I took a long afternoon for me and read it start to finish and loved it. I suggest you also read it in quick fashion, start to finish, because there are numerous characters and locales. It's incredibly engaging and even more amazing is that this is based on the author's family, so be sure to read ALL of the post-ending book pages. Unbelievable!
An incredible story of bravery and survival of a Jewish family during WWII. Sol and Nechuma Kurc, living in Poland in a beautiful huge apartment with their grown children, running successful businesses begin to suffer the repression we've read about in so many holocaust stories. They lose their home and businesses and are sent to the ghetto. However, this story diverges from the norm. Their children and their partners flee and end up all over the world. From Israel to Siberia to Italy and Brazil they each have their own unique stories of survival. Not hearing from each other, in some cases, for 7+ years they reconnect after the war through the Red Cross. The book bounces from one couple or family or individual to another with small historical context notes interspersed. Amazingly, all the main characters survive and all the more amazing, the story is based on meticulous research the author did on her own family. One of the best I've read this year.
Highly recommend this book. I loved it from beginning to end. It is a remarkable story about survival and absolutely heartbreaking. The things i loved most was the fact that this book was based on true events and the experiences of the family members was so diverse. I found myself referring back to the family chart often especially in the beginning to keep everyone straight and was thankful this was made available. I was so sad when this book was over as I just didn't want it to end. 5 stars all around
After the invasion of Poland by the Germans at the onset of WWII, the Kurc family was forcibly scattered, abused, detained and imprisoned across Europe and Asia because they were Jewish. For the entirety of the war, most family members don't know the others whereabouts or whether they are dead or alive.
This was an epic family drama. Author Georgia Hunter vividly tells her family's history during the war. However, the written narrative didn't always excel at telling what was truly a remarkable story. The timeline was often confusing, as well as keeping track of each individual family member and where they were at any given point in time. One of my biggest literary peeves was the use of rhetorical questions, "Were they alive?" "Where are they?" "Would I ever see them again?" were repeated over and over again...
Initially I was only going to give this book 3 star rating -- but the ending was such that I gave it the benefit of the doubt based on the truly miraculous nature of the author's ancestry
This is such a wonderfully written story about a Jewish family struggling to survive during the war and the Holocaust. The book is a little hard to follow at first because there are so many family members and each chapter gives an update on what is happening to a different family member but once you get used to who everyone is, it's a lot easier to follow their plight. Any time I read about what the Jews went through during Hitler's reign and how especially the Polish community was decimated, it just blows my mind. I can't wrap my brain around the thought of how this could happen. Then I see what is happening now in America and I start to see how Hitler slowly took control. My heart always breaks when I read about what happened during the Holocaust and I look forward to paying my respects at the Holocaust Museum in DC soon. I know mass killings are happening in other parts of the country and I hope people never forget what happened in Europe. At least this family had a happy ending. I was also surprised to read the author's notes at the end that this was based on her family and a lot of the people portrayed were her family members including her grandfather. This was so well worth my time and don't be surprised if you shed a few tears.